Interview with Caty

Interview with Caty

Welcome to a fascinating interview with Caty Salgado!

We are excited to delve into the life and experiences of Caty, an extraordinary woman who plays multiple roles as a mother, leader of a non-profit organization, and designer for her sustainable boutique LanaLlama. We will discover how she gracefully balances her responsibilities, embraces cultural diversity through her venture LanaLlama, and leaves a positive impact on her community. We are eager to explore her journey, from raising four children to her involvement in community service projects, and how she uses fashion to promote the rich Peruvian heritage. Join us in this unique conversation with Caty Salgado!

Kantua, artisan made jewelry boutique, interviews Caty Salgado, designer at LanaLlama sustainable boutique

Q: How did your journey with the Peruvian Civic Center in New York begin?

A: Well, let me tell you, I owe this to Liz, the vice president of the civic center. She introduced me to Stefano Navarro last year for the first time during the flag-raising ceremony at the financial center in Manhattan. I was very proud to collaborate with them, and that's where this entire relationship and the wonderful work that Stefano Navarro has been doing for the Peruvian community for a long time began.

Q: Could you share some memorable community service projects that have had a significant impact on the community or individuals?

A: Well, our upcoming project, which is very close now, is to provide dinners for 300 refugees with the help of civic center volunteers and also with Evelyn, who is also part of this event with her Food Pantry. Evelyn is a wonderful woman who does a lot for the community. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, November 21 at 5:00 p.m., and we are always looking for volunteers.

Q: Incorporating Peruvian culture into your initiatives is a wonderful way to unite communities. What inspired you to promote Peruvian culture in a foreign country, and what challenges have you faced along the way?

A: Well, I was inspired by the passion of the artisans and the beautiful work they do. When I see what they create, I think, "this must be seen by other people." Like anyone else, you always want to have your own business, and working with artisans impassions me.

The challenges I've faced include realizing that the system in the United States, especially in the beginning, is very different from how we do things in Peru, especially regarding imports. There was a time when a package was in customs for a week, and I went to the airport every day, telling myself, "this is not for me." But I got through that, and here I am, learning how the system really works.

Another ongoing challenge is educating people, customers, those who follow us, about the products. We educate about the product, why it's here. For example, with fish leather, I had to explain the entire transformation process. Sometimes they would say, "you kill alpacas," and I would say, "no! I'm an animal lover." We definitely have to clarify that everything has certain regulations. With table runners, they ask why they are so expensive, and the answer is that each one takes a month and is handmade. They are different and unique, handmade.

LanaLlama sustainable peruvian boutique in new york

Q: Creating a boutique like LanaLlama that supports Peruvian artisans is remarkable. Can you tell us about the unique pieces your boutique offers and how you ensure fair employment and sustainable practices within your business?

A: I don't have much, as I consider all my pieces to be unique. Honestly, the fish leather one is, for me personally, entirely sustainable. Another product I can talk about is palo santo; the carving of each piece, which I learned from the artisan, is an exclusive job that she does herself. Truly, for me, it's a different product. You know palo santo as a home incense, but for me, who knows the process and sees it transformed into an ornament that can also be used as incense, it's very exclusive.

Kantua, artisan made jewelry boutique, interviews Caty Salgado, designer at LanaLlama sustainable boutique

Q: Working directly with artisans must bring some incredible stories. Could you share an especially inspiring story of an artisan you've worked with and how La Llama has had a positive impact on their lives?

A: It's quite funny, I was just talking about palo santo, and I think we had an impact on both sides, both with the artisan and with me at LanaLlama. I met her by chance when I went to Lima; she was my fish leather artisan, and I saw her stand, but she wasn't there. Her shop had a fantastic presentation. When I came back, I started studying it, and later, when I returned to Lima, we made an appointment, and I met her. Her story really impressed me; she's a young mother with her own business, studies chemistry, and is very smart. For her age, she had achieved a lot; I really liked her entrepreneurship. Now we are friends; she has come here, and I have been there; she is my assistant in Lima. Her name is Adriana, and palo santo has had a good impact for LanaLlama. We work together when customers look for something personalized; she is available to create different designs. I provided her with an income different from what she had in Lima, and for me, it was also about pleasing my customers, so the impact was positive for both of us.

Q: Being a mother of four children, running a non-profit organization, and managing a boutique is undoubtedly challenging. How do you balance your roles effectively, and do you have any advice for other mothers aspiring to make a difference in their communities?

A: I believe it can be very challenging, as you say, to have so many roles and try to do the best for each case. Speaking of my children, as you already know a bit about me, I am divorced; so, I have time with the kids when they are not with their dad. I try to dedicate that time and involve them. For example, I have Bella, my daughter; she is involved with LanaLlama. LanaLlama has several brands under it, and one of those brands is "Bella por LanaLlama," where she paints, so she is involved. In the upcoming event at the civic center, I will take them for the Thanksgiving service day. I have my full-time job; well, they are things that I am passionate about. When you really like doing something, you don't feel like it's a job. I have priorities in the way I organize myself to be everywhere. When you do something with love, you feel that you do it in a different way and don't feel like you're working. So, for those who are starting or undertaking, who have a job, I tell them not to be ashamed to ask for help. I'm sure there will be people willing to help and support what they do. And if you can't do something, say it too. You don't always have to say yes to everything. Try to prioritize your things and do them anyway.

Q: Do you have any projects for LanaLlama?

A: I am invited to the first Runway Show in Long Island as a designer. The person organizing it is called Maritza. She is an entrepreneur who has been doing these shows for several years; she has done it in Cusco, in Arequipa. She uses this Fashion Show to introduce new designers, boost them, and show the public new ventures. So, we'll be there this February.

Q: Finally, in your opinion, what kind of impact can grassroots initiatives like yours have on promoting cultural understanding and empowering communities, not only in New York but globally?

A: The impact we can have is the exchange of cultures and diversity. In this country, I am teaching the diversity of Peruvian culture through craftsmanship and design, showing everything we can do.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

A: I know a craftswoman and designer; I love the things she does, and she has made many things for me, including this ring. I think the work you do is exceptional, that's how we met. I congratulate you on everything you do.

Q: I made you this ring for a special event; tell us about the award you received?

A: I was recognized for promoting Peruvian culture in Long Island and also for Hispanic heritage. You made me a set of a ring, bracelet, and a hairpin. When you do something with a lot of passion, it shows, and I'm happy to support you.

 Kantua, artisan made jewelry boutique, interviews Caty Salgado, designer at LanaLlama sustainable boutique

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